We come in peace, they say. Sure, and probably true, this time.
I'm not sure we could do much about it if it wasn't true. Technically,
Arachne isn't the most powerful warship in the System, but it's a close
match for an Ares in firepower and a hell of a lot better armored. Itís
the first true battleship ever, and it's come to Venus to say "hi".
Our two boats went out to meet it. Escort it into orbit for its port call. Smile and wave. We've got a half-built orbital station that could maybe take it on -- next year. But they're not here for a fight. Just want to top off the tanks, bring a couple of hundred spacers and guardsmen down to see the sights. Everything under control. The mag sail rings are a big clue as to the next port of call. Those rings are practically worthless out in the Belt, but they get geometrically stronger the closer you get to the sun. Mars owns Mercury, all the mines and stations and shipyards. I'd hate to be at Gupta Station when Arachne comes to visit.
The hanger doors are starting to open. There must be a dozen transports in there!
--Captain-Lieutenant Jon Brunner, VPB-104 12 December 2521
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